Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Have One Great Senator

And he opposed the war in 2002. The corporate media conspicuously ignored him.

Media Matters for America: Why did the press ignore Ted Kennedy in 2002?

[B]ack in September 2002, with the Bush administration and much of the Beltway media rushing to embrace war with Iraq, Kennedy delivered a passionate, provocative, and newsworthy speech raising all sorts of doubts about a possible invasion. Unlike today, the political press wasn't very interested in Kennedy or what he had to say about the most pressing issue facing the nation. Back in that media environment, being the voice of American liberals didn't mean much.


And looking back, a key turning point during that public rush to war was Kennedy's fervent and thoughtful speech. It was a turning point because it highlighted, months before the invasion even took place, how the press was going to deal with high-profile, articulate critics of Bush's war policy. The press was going to downplay them, marginalize them, and ignore them. Even if those critics included high-wattage political stars like Ted Kennedy.

In retrospect, I can't help thinking that if the media treated Kennedy in 2002 the way they treat him today (and the way the press treated him before 2002), as somebody whose actions command respect and attention, that the doomed public debate about the war would have, or at least could have, been much different. It could have been more critical, more thoughtful, and more illuminating.

Instead, much of the political press in 2002 treated Kennedy as a bystander in the passing Bush parade, and specifically, they treated Kennedy's September 27 speech as little more than a political maneuver that deserved only passing mention -- literally.

That night on NBC's Nightly News, just 32 words from the Kennedy address were excerpted. On ABC's World News Tonight, it was 31 words. And on the CBS Evening News, 40 words. In all three instances, the brief mention of the Kennedy speech was part of a larger report on the looming possibility of war. Meaning, on none of the networks did Kennedy's speech qualify as a stand-alone news event.

The address was given on a Friday. Two days later on the Sunday talk shows, where Iraq was discussed in detail, Kennedy's name never came up on NBC's Meet the Press, on CBS' Face the Nation, or on ABC's This Week.

For the network pundits, Kennedy's anti-war speech did not exist. It was irrelevant to the around-the-clock media chatter about a looming war.

And yet the corporate media thinks they did a great job on their media coverage. There are none so blind...

Glenn Greenwald, Network news anchors praise the job they did in the run-up to the war

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